Rob Zombie returning to the UK in Feb

The inimitable, 7-times Grammy-nominated ROB ZOMBIE is set for a return to the UK stage after a 12 year hiatus.   Rob and his band, featuring John 5 (guitar), Piggy D (bass) and Joey Jordison (drums) will play a string of six dates this coming February, finally bringing their visually-arresting, high-octane, pyro-laden, monster stage show to UK shores.

Rob is looking forward to the visit, saying “ I am thrilled to be finally heading back to the UK.  I have been away far too long, but trust me it will be worth the wait.  The band is in top form and completely ready to destroy.”

Having co-headlined this Summer’s Rockstar Mayhem Festival and currently closing out the Halloween Hootenanny tour, which is levelling amphitheatres across the States right now, UK fans can be assured the full Zombie spectacular is coming their way.  Don’t waste any time picking up your tickets because they’ll not hang around for long.  

Dates rack up as follows:

Wed 16th Feb – LONDON O2 Academy Brixton (0844 477 2000)

Thu 17th Feb – MANCHESTER Academy (0161 832 1111)

Fri 18th Feb – NEWCASTLE O2 Academy (0844 477 2000)

Sun 20th Feb – GLASGOW O2 Academy (0844 477 2000)

Mon 21st Feb – LEEDS O2 Academy (0844 477 2000)

Tue 22nd Feb – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy (0844 477 2000)

Tickets, priced £26.50 regionally and £29.50 in London (subject to booking fee), go on sale 9am this Friday 15th October from box offices, all usual agents and online at www.livenation.co.uk and www.kililive.com.   Credit card booking phone lines are detailed above.

Support comes from Skindred and Rob Zombie’s Roadrunner UK labelmates, Revoker.

Having sold over fifteen million CDs worldwide to date, the demons were unleashed on current album ‘Hellbilly Deluxe 2..’, which comes a dozen years after its predecessor, ‘Hellbilly Deluxe’, the album that established Zombie as a solo artist following the demise of his colossally successful previous band, White Zombie.  ‘Hellbilly Deluxe 2..’ picks up where the last one left off a decade ago, but is Rob Zombie in 2010: leaner and meaner, with the same appreciation and snarl for all things dark and a little bit dastardly.  It’s no simple task to record a companion-style follow-up 10 years down the line, but Rob Zombie makes it look and sound easy.  “This was one of the least stressful records I’ve ever made.  The songs fell together in record time” says Zombie.  “For some reason the best songs always come easy.”

Not content to merely hijack the planet with his delightfully nefarious tunes, Rob Zombie, wearing his auteur’s hat, directed the second flick in the legendary franchise, ‘Halloween 2’, which emerged last year.  It was his fifth time writing and directing a feature film.  Zombie had also interpreted John Carpenter’s original cult horror ‘Halloween’ in 2007 and that film debuted at No. 1 at the US Box Office, shattering Labor Day weekend records.  His previous films include 2004’s essential ‘House of 1000 Corpses’ and 2005’s critically acclaimed ‘The Devil’s Rejects’.  Zombie also wrapped production on his animated, R-rated feature, ‘The Haunted World of El Superbeasto’, and also guest-directed a season-closing episode of the hit TV series, ‘CSI: Miami’.   His next movie project, “Lords of Salem” has just been announced and goes into production next year.  

In addition to the album, the “Mars Needs Women” EP is available from today at all good digital stores.  The title track is vintage Zombie, featuring ass-moving grooves, piled on top of a storm of chunky riffs.  Also included in the package are ‘What? (The Naughty Cheerleader Mix)’, ‘Jesus Frankenstein (Halfway To Hell And Loving It Mix)’ and ‘Sick Bubblegum (Men Or Monsters…Or Both? Mix).

I like my gears how I like my women- metal and solid

Good Saturday, peoples of the web. Today’s blog post is a little article about how much I love Metal Gear Solid. So sue me, you feckless wedge chasers. See y’all next time!

It’s a franchise that has a whole umbrella of successful products from the core gaming masterpieces to mobile games, novels, a radio play and all manner of collectibles. I’m not interested in the sequels and spin offs or even the predecessors- there is one Metal Gear Solid which bolted the words tactical, espionage and action together and created a new genre.

Metal, Gear, Solid. Another three words which baffled gamers at the time. I remember picking up a PlayStation 1 magazine, for that brave little plastic device was still in vogue at the time, and reading the words Metal Gear Solid. So… it’s about… a metal gear, right? Which is solid. So… I guess it’s about robots?

Well, as it turned out, there were robots. There were also helicopters, stealth ninjas, reams of spoken dialogue, a thick plot with an alternate ending, gadgets, comic book villains, tons of background info, tanks, guns, fist fighting and comedic sneeze-based subplots. MGS dropped jaws.

This was in 1998. Other games simply were not doing this much in one package. MGS was one of the first dear-God-this-game-is-better-than-a-movie-and-a-book-put-together moments that I and many other gamers at the time had ever experienced. So where is it now? The fact is that while the sequels detonate their payload all over our screens, the first Metal Gear Solid (not counting the pixeltastic MSX originals) has fallen into the bargain bins of time. A crying shame indeed, but also a godsend for retro enthusiasts such as myself. Ebay is your friend on this one.

The great thing is that you won’t need any super-retro hardware. Okay, a PC may struggle, for so many older games fail to work on Vista and 7. However the PlayStation 1 version will of course work on a PlayStation 2, or even better you can grab the GameCube version and play it on a Wii!

Some may recall that the original game was given a lick of fresh graphics, dialogue and updated gameplay modes and ported to the GameCube under the new sub title “Twin Snakes”. I can recommend this to anyone who dislikes chunky graphics and may have been put off the original for that reason. Even people who played the original might enjoy this version as the slight tweaks make it more worthwhile to re-play.

So what’s the big deal? Enter Solid Snake, a somewhat suggestively named agent of a global counter-terrorism unit. Snake is a cigarette smoking, ass kicking, grizzled lady killer who must infiltrate an Alaskan nuclear weapons base using only stealth and awesomeness to rescue some hostages from some wacky terrorists. Once those nobodies have been dealt with, it’s time to befriend a scientist, save a girl, defeat a huge walking tank, stop a nuclear war, defeat a cyborg ninja with mysterious links to the past and face off against Snake’s evil mastermind counterpart while discovering the terrible truth of his existence and coming into his birth right as a genetically perfect legendary soldier! This is all between grumpy quips, hiding in boxes, hours of in-depth characterisation, love plots, postulations over the nature of mankind and warfare and strangling guards when they take a leak.

The fact is that MGS was as full of both sound serious gameplay and novel, quirky Easter eggs. Swapping controllers around or having phone conversations with hot women while crawling under tanks becomes normal while playing this game. The game employed so many interesting devices from personal radar to a tiered alarm system that it’s very hard to find a game in the same genre now that doesn’t have a little MGS in it. Of course, I’m being biased- the game was not without problems. Despite being graphically advanced for the time, the original is still somewhat clunky, most noticeably in the fact that the characters haven’t got eyes. The stealth system was right for the game, but falls a bit flat when you consider that the guards could only see about 50 feet forward. There were also problems with the controls that often left Snake revolving around on his belly while you tried to select a weapon and crouch.

This review is for those who missed Metal Gear Solid first time around and need the extra impetus to find out what sparked this astonishingly powerful franchise. The simple truth is that the gameplay is solid, the story gripping and the whole package has a kind of timeless beauty. The bargain bin just doesn’t know how lucky it is.

Planning to Fail Part 3

Goood afternoon. RIP Tony Curtis; he was a funny funny man.

A fine day here; stark wintery sun over a cold, fresh sky. Love it. The search continues for illustrators for Sleepwalkers but at the moment my main concern is the second draft which is taking a long time to finish. Life gets in the way. Oh also a quick hello to the returns of Sons of Anarcy, Stargate Universe and Fringe. SG:U is a show I that I like despite my complaints- if it wasn’t part of the Stargate franchise it would stand alone very well. It’s just a little too much divorced from the originals. Don’t get me wrong I like gritty adult sci fi, but they’ve ended up landlocked somewhere between the good points of Stargate and the good points of Battlestar. We will see if season 2 brings a new vibe. SoA is still going strong, enjoying it, amusing and dramatic and all the rest. Fringe is the same, still interesting. The overarcing plot episodes far outstrip the regular investigatory ones though.

Oh yes, my apocalypse plan. I left off last time with a plan for the first 24 hours. After that point I should have a shelter and basic equipment and have gathered some loved ones if I’m very lucky. Next comes the aftermath.

Post Apocalypse

The world will be utterly different very quickly. Despite all our nice ethics and civilised ideals, when survival becomes paramount, most people will degenerate fast. I think people would be surprised by how fast everyone adapts. In any case, now it’s time to consider allies and enemies very carefully. First things first- can I survive on my own? I think so indeed but it would be better to secure a group for safety and mutual benefit.

  • Friends and contacts. I need to make a secret list of the people who I will consider recruiting/joining. Every person and every journey is a risk so this must be considered carefully. Do my friends have key skills that will come in handy in the new world? I can think of one or two who can start cars and hunt and whatnot, so they have priority. I also have friends and family with countryside houses- that’s certainly worth a thought. Arm the companions I can trust.
  • Meeting strangers. Okay, in the new world, everyone must be treated with suspicion. Co-operation is great but never let strangers see weakness or take the advantage. Give aid to injured people only if it can be spared and the area is totally secure- otherwise, forget about it. Personally I would avoid using traps and tricks or trying to take supplies from other survivors by using force; as a rule, it’s not worth the hassle. Sadly, desperate times may call for desperate measures.

That leads onto the subject of gangs. Avoiding the cities and main roads would be wise where possible. There will likely be a police or military presence, never mind organised crime. All the organisations existing today that have infrastructure, tools and training will survive a mid-sized apocalypse in some shape or form. However, it would be a mistake to assume that police or military will be friendly to all survivors, be they acting on the orders of a remnant government or not.

  • Contact other groups carefully. Ambassadors can be captured and then may give away information. Always have a second group or agent monitoring meetings, ready to act if the other wise tries something clever, even if its just to live to tell the tale.
  • A safehouse, preferably in the countryside, that can be well defended. Barracade if necessary and build up a motor pool of stolen vehicles.
  • Food and water are still paramount. A source of both is always preferable to foraging; livestock for example. Always consider contamination risk though.
  • The future. Establish order. If surviving alone that’s easy- if with a group, got to be useful and stay on top as much as possible. If in a position to order others, consider types of command. Democracy certainly nice but not always viable. Extremes never good in the long term; middle ground has longevity, please as many as possible. Watch for dissenters and popular people and appease them where possible to do so with subtlety.
  • Building. Raid libraries; books on how to make electricity, clean water and so on are invaluable.
  • The next generation… well, that will sort itself out.

So, the gist of the plan is now nailed down. I hope it brought some vague entertainment. If everything does go to hell and I somehow survive, feel free to come over and ask me which point of the plan I’m at. I will probably vomit and wave a knife at you, crazy-eyed.

I think I should probably be planning for a more likely future. Careers and whatnot. Far more boring!

Peace, Bret.